Residents concerned as plans for skyscrapers in South Quay are discussed
South Quay may be remade as a "place for people" - as developers desire - but Islanders are fearful there are just going to be too many of them.
Up to 50 residents attended a public meeting to judge Berkeley Homes' skyscraper plan and voiced their concerns to developers about overcrowding, transport, noise and affordable housing.
They are familiar themes on the Isle of Dogs with local Tower Hamlets councillors arguing developers' wish to be close to Canary Wharf should be matched to proposals that will ease pressure on the community - such as new schools and health facilities.
The proposals centre on the dual sites of South Quay Plaza and Marsh Wall, with the larger of the skyscrapers to the north part of the site falling just short of the height of One Canada Square. It will step down from 73 storeys to 60, while the southern offering provides 36 storeys dropping to 28 at its lowest.
Ihsan Bashir is manager of South Quay shop Baguette Express. Previously it was a newsagents when the IRA blew it up in 1996 killing his brother. He now fears for the future of his business.
"My primary aim is to still be here," he said. "We are part of history and everyone should know what happened here. By having our shops, everyone will know what the IRA did."
Another Islander told The Wharf: "I like high rises, I like the style and they look good, but is this one practical?
"I'm not against the design but it's how they can make it work. The development is huge; it's massive, it really is.
"The Island is going to be over-populated before long. The transport won't be able to hold it, the DLR is full to capacity and there aren't enough buses."
An early artists' impression to give a rough indication of the scale of the development.
Julian Carter, director of GVA property consultants, revealed that a planning application would be submitted to the authority within the next two months.
Patrick Campbell, of development partner Fosters and Architects, said: "We feel this site offers something that isn't currently on the Isle of Dogs - a marker building of high quality in terms of the development, in terms of how it's going to be delivered, and the thought that has gone into it.
"It is being driven by creating a place. This will be a destination, this is something that will be memorable and have a character of its own."
Residents raised issues over the capacity of South Quay DLR station to handle an increase in commuter traffic.
David Ellis, of WSP group, said based on figures from the 2011 census - which show 30% of residents travel by DLR - the development would generate an extra 10 to 15 passengers per train.
Mr Campbell was unable to pin down the number of affordable homes in the development.
The scheme will also feature a waterfront zone, increased public space and shops at ground and mezzanine levels. Another footbridge link to Canary Wharf was raised as a possibility.
A final public exhibition will be held on February 1-15 at the Lantern Theatre Studios, Millharbour.